Air Date: Friday, March 18, 2011
I knew things were going to get crazy on Fringe this week as soon as I saw Paula Malcomson was guesting in this episode. If you recall, she played the beautiful, fragile Amanda Graystone in Caprica. She’s the one who just couldn’t forgive her husband for lying, cheating, stealing and killing to bring their dead daughter back to life as a monstrous robotic killing machine. So, I knew if they hired her to be on Fringe, there would probably either be a lot of crying or maybe a religious terror cell of some kind involved.
When last we left Olivia, the soul of William Bell had just possessed her (thanks, Walter!). As explained to the Fringe team, this all seems very logical. To his credit, Peter is not happy about this turn of events. I don’t blame him. Earlier in the season, he had to sleep with alternate universe Fauxlivia. Then he only got one episode to finally boink the real Olivia, before she became the human host for the soul of a dead 80-year-old man. Remember way back when Olivia crossed over and met William Bell and he gave her some tea? Well, apparently that’s when he slipped her the soul magnets that would eventually suck his soul into her body. Yeah, that’s why I never accept drinks from anyone, ever. Roofie me once, shame on you; roofie me 27 times over the course of a weekend in Palm Springs, shame on me.
Bell makes himself at home inside Olivia and even starts making passes at poor Astrid. I was deeply, deeply concerned that Anna Torv‘s Leonard Nimoy impersonation would be too distracting, but I guess I shouldn’t have worried. As an actress, she makes such bold, yet specific choices in her work. So, even when she goes out on a limb, it’s still grounded in reality. By the end of the episode, William Bell/Olivia is firmly established as a new and distinct character on the show. At no time is this more apparent than when Olivia makes a brief, momentary return to consciousness. The change is immediate and recognizable. So, I’m relieved on that front. However, all these shenanigans are only going to drive Peter into the arms of Fauxlivia.
So, what’s Amanda Graystone doing in this episode? Seems she died a while ago when her family was gunned down in a home invasion. Only, she’s still alive. Having given up on offing herself, she attempts to hitchhike (or stowaway) on the deaths of suicide victims. Charming. When she’s filmed walking away from a dive from a rooftop, the Finge folk get involved and attempt to bring her in before she can take a whole train full of people with her. Man, nobody plays grieving mother as well as Paula Malcolmson.
The lead investigator of this return of the living dead is none other than adorable Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel). It’s very nice to see him show up in our universe and make connections with the Fringe team. And it’s especially nice to see him without all the horrible burn and scar makeup from the other side. He and Peter have a great deal of chemistry together, and by the end, they can hardly bear to part from each other. Hopefully, they’ll bring Lincoln back and give Peter a non-Olivia option to consider.
There are only five episodes left in what could very well be the final season of Fringe. If you’re not on board yet, you should be. It is the best written and acted science fiction show on television. Come on! Anna Torv is doing a spot-on Leonard Nimoy impersonation, which is, like, a hundred times harder than doing Shatner.
Fringe airs Fridays at 9/8c on Fox.